The emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, abdicated Tuesday in favor of his son, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

"The future lies ahead of you, the children of this homeland, as you usher in a new era where young leadership hoists the banner," the 61-year-old departing emir said in a nationally televised address.

Tamim, who takes command at age 33 of the small, gas-rich Gulf nation, is the second son of the emir with the Sheikha Moza and became crown prince in 2003 after his older brother Yasim renounced the title.

Father and son will receive all day Tuesday, which has been declared a national holiday, and Wednesday, Qatari citizens who wish to vow their loyalty to the new head of state.

Sheik Hamad said in his address that from now on he will undertake "a new position," without specifying exactly what his new functions or occupation will be.

The incoming emir, Tamim, is known abroad for his participation in the world of soccer - he was the big promoter of Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup - though he has been prepared for his new duties with a long list of political, economic and military responsibilities. EFE